Understanding Infected Sweat Glands


Preventing Sweat Gland Infections
A regular shower helps to keep your sweat glands from becoming infected.
A regular shower helps to keep your sweat glands from becoming infected.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

One of the easiest ways to prevent your sweat glands from becoming infected is to keep your skin clean. This removes the excess bacteria and sweat that causes miliaria. Likewise, it helps to observe proper hygiene when shaving body parts with high concentrations of apocrine sweat glands, such as armpits or the groin area. Shave with the grain of the hair, not against it, and wash the area immediately after shaving. Keeping your razor clean and sharp also helps reduce the tiny that can lead to infection [source: AOCD].

Other simple steps can help prevent miliaria: If you're going to spend time in hot, humid environments, make sure your skin can breathe by wearing loose, breathable clothing. And try to intersperse time in the heat with time in a cool place, giving your body temperature a chance to drop and your sweat glands a break from cooling your skin [sources: Baker, O'Connor].

If you have a history of apocrine sweat gland infections, you can reduce the chance of a flare-up by avoiding tight-fitting clothing; chafing can lead to new infections. And some research suggests that losing weight, while not a cure for chronic infections, appears to help reduce the frequency of infections like hidradenitis suppurativa [source: Kineston].

Sweat gland infections are no fun. Between the itching, pain and potentially embarrassing rash, they can be a major health problem for the people they affect. But arming yourself with knowledge about what causes them, and how to prevent them, can reduce the amount of time you spend dealing with these uncomfortable skin conditions.

Related Articles

Sources

  • American Academy of Dermatology. "AcneNet - what causes acne?" April 14, 2010 (Oct. 6, 2010) http://www.skincarephysicians.com/acnenet/acne.html
  • American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. "Dermatologic Disease Database," 2010 (Oct. 13, 2010) http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/index.html
  • Baker, Donald, Heymann, Warren. "Eccrine and Apocrine Glands." American Academy of Dermatology. 2010 (Sept. 27, 2010) http://www.aad.org/education/students/glands.htm
  • Bakr NI, El-Sawy E, Hamdy AF, Bakr MA. Skin Infections in Egyptian Renal Transplant Recipients. Transplant Infectious Disease. 2010 Sept. 16; 10.1111/j.1399-3062.2010.00568.x http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20849434
  • Davis SL, Wilson TE, White AT, Frohman EM. Thermoregulation in Multiple Sclerosis. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2010 Jul. 29http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20671034
  • Hijazy, Mahmoud. Principles of Pediatric dermatology. "Diseases of the Sweat Glands" 2000 (Sept. 30, 2010)http://www.dermatologyinfo.net/english/chapters/chapter46.htm
  • Hijazy, Mahmoud. Principles of Pediatric dermatology. "Diseases of the Sbaceous Glands - Acne." 2000 (Sept. 30, 2010)http://www.dermatologyinfo.net/english/chapters/chapter47.htm
  • Jovanovic, Maria et.al. "Hidradenitis Suppurativa." EMedicine. May 12, 2010 (Oct. 5, 2010) http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1073117-overview
  • Kineston, Donald, Martin, Kristen. Puritic Axillary Papules (photo quiz). American Family Physician. 2008 Jun; 15;77(12):1735-1736. Liebenberg, Louis. "Persistence Hunting by Modern Hunter-Gatherers." Current Anthropology, 2006 Dec.; Volume 47, Number 6.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. "Sweating and Body Odor." Dec. 9, 2008 (Oct. 5, 2010) http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/sweating-and-body-odor/DS00305/METHOD=print&DSECTION=all
  • New Zealand Dermatological Society Incorporated. "Miliaria." May 15, 2009 (Sept. 28, 2010) http://dermnetnz.org/hair-nails-sweat/miliaria.html
  • O'Connor, Nina, McLaughlin, Maura, Ham, Peter. "Newborn Skin, Part I. Common Rashes." American Family Physician. 2008 Jan 1;77(1):47-52.
  • Porter, Alan. "Why do We Have Apocrine and Sebaceous Glands?" Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 2001 May; 94(5): 236-237.
  • Zacherle, Barry, Silver, Diane. "Hot Tub Folliculitis: A Clinical Syndrome." Western Journal of Medicine. 1982 Sept; 137(3): 191-194.

More to Explore